TAFE NSW Student Hollie McKenzie's internationally acclaimed art. Pic supplied.
A Northern Rivers local has credited TAFE NSW for getting her foot in the door and setting her up for success after her art has been applauded internationally at exhibitions across the world.
TAFE NSW Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts graduate Hollie McKenzie was in her second year of study when she landed her first commercial gallery in 2018. She has since gone on to exhibit her paintings at leading Australian and European galleries including Monat Gallery Madrid and Paris, as well as Monaco and Florence in the next year.
Her paintings feature her daughter dressed in the military uniforms of historical armies and make comment on the state of an increasingly militarised world, the condition of women and the nature of childhood in the twenty first century.
Hollie said the inspiration came from her childhood memory of moving to different places in Australia with her dad, who was in the army.
“I remember dad would bring home camo paint and I would put it on my face and try on all his uniforms,” Hollie said.
“It’s surreal to know people all over the world get to see what my childhood was like through my art, and this was possible thanks to the support of my teachers at TAFE NSW.”
Hollie was working on her solo exhibition, which will open in New York in 2025, when the recent floods devasted her community and flooded her studio in Whian Whian, 25km north of Lismore.
“I was able to save one piece of linen and enough paint for one more artwork but that’s nothing compared to what others in the community have lost,” she said.
Hollie has been a big support to her local community through her art since completing her TAFE NSW course. She has painted art murals in the classrooms of her local public school and held local exhibitions showcasing TAFE NSW student art to fundraise for the community.
TAFE NSW visual arts teacher Steven Giese said Hollie’s success is a result of the hard work and innovation she has invested into her studies. “It’s very rewarding to see that skills acquired from TAFE NSW Lismore can be appreciated by art audiences in other countries. I’m confident Hollie’s career will go a very long way.
“At TAFE NSW students can realise their dreams by reinventing themselves, changing careers or creating their own legacy just as Hollie has,” Mr Giese said.
For more information about visual arts courses available at TAFE NSW visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone
Media contact: Jessica Cortis, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org